Posted by: atowhee | March 20, 2013


“The peeper seems to realize, rather better than we, the significance of his resurrection, and I wonder if there is any other phenomenon in the heavens above on in the earth beneath which so simply and so definitely announces that life is resurgent again…The music of the spheres is a myth; to say that the heavens rejoice is a pathetic fallacy; but there is no missing the rejoicings from the marsh and no denying that they are something shared.Under the stars we feel alone, but by the pond side we have company.” –Joseph Wood Krutch, “The Day of the Peepers”

Today the sun begins to win its annual contest for dominance with the moon. Tomorrow we will have more daylight than darkness. It is one of the most dependable and enjoyable annual events here in the lattitudes above and below the tropics. Tropical days can be so boring, always the same length, same temperature, same afternoon winds. Every day here in southern Oregon is longer of shorter than the one before and the one to follow. The calendar says tomorrow is officially the first full day of spring. But Nature knows better. Back in late February as days lengthened and sunshine began to warm the pools and unshaded slopes there was a welcome voice announcing that spring and its solar ally were insisting on having their way, again. It was the song of male western tree frog. As the spring peeper in the eastern U.S. this small amphibian knows more about climate and meteorology than any highly trained technician with his database of 150 years of weather data.

DRUMMERS-2 The spring drumming of woodpeckers is another assurance that the seasons continue to roll along. Here we have Flicker admiring or attending to the frantic paradiddles of the much smaller Downy Woodpecker.

NOFL PR ON POLE Just down the street that same morning a pair of Flickers were inspecting a utility pole for its possible drumming use. Nearby a second male, the proverbial third wheel, waited to see if she liked the would-be drummer’s intimations.

Most of our migrant ducks that winter in southern Oregon will leave just as April leaves. Already they are forming pairs that will migrate northward and eastward together, thus saving much time and hassle once they reach their breeding area. Below Hooded Mergansers in water, Shoveler on a log. Both were on Ashland Pond.


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